When meeting with a new doctor, during pregnancy or if you need to switch practices at any time, there are many questions to ask the doctor and ask yourself.
Ask the doctor about:
- The waiting room. Are there separate areas for sick and well patients? How often are toys cleaned?
- Their after-hours policy. Is there 24-hour access to a physician, even on weekend or holidays? Is there a charge for after-hours calls?
- Breastfeeding. Do they have a lactation consultant on staff or one they recommend? Will they provide a space to breastfeed in the office during your appointments?
- Appointment protocol. How far in advance should well-child visits be scheduled? Do they offer same-day appointments for sudden illness? How much time do they schedule for each well-child visit?
- Other practitioners. How many doctors are on staff? Will you get to see the same pediatrician every visit?
- Communication. Do the doctors or nurses accept phone calls for non-emergency questions? How often do they check their messages? Can you ask questions over email or through their website?
- In-office Services. If your child requires lab work or other testing, can that be done on-site or will you have to travel to another office?
- Specialties. Does this doctor have any sub-specialties? If your child needs to see a specialist or has a disability how will they handle that?
- Background. How long have they been in practice? Why did they choose pediatrics?
Ask Yourself About:
- Philosophy. Will this doctor respect your personal views on child-rearing, immunizations, breastfeeding or any other issue you feel strongly about?
- Your Needs. Do you want a smaller practice or one with many doctors? How busy does the office seem? Does the average office visit fit with your schedule and availability?
- Comfort. Did this doctor put you at ease and answer your questions patiently? Was the staff friendly and attentive? Above all else, you should feel you can ask your pediatrician anything and they will answer you honestly and compassionately.